Two mornings of waking to temperatures in the single digits F.
Smoke rises thickly against the cold air.
Our tenants will soon be living full time in the lower farmhouse.
One paperwhite bulb lags behind the others--all have grown unevenly.
The pond across from our neighbor's house when I went to walk their elderly dog.
We were invited to bring home as many eggs as we could use.
Jim fed the hens in the morning and gave them fresh water. When I returned at noon to take the dog out and retrieve the mail, the hens had usually finished laying and I gathered up the eggs.
Animal tending went on for a week, as our friends had to be away.
Several weeks ago I dug out a quilting project started 2 winters ago--just before we dove into what has become the renovation of three houses!
I had made one of these paper-pieced blocks to see if it was something I might enjoy.
When I decided that the time had come to again take out my sewing I literally stood on my head to find the proper fabric--in the bottom bin at the very back of the closet in what has still not become my sewing room.
For now, the table in the alcove off the kitchen is a warm and light space to work.
I've kept my fabric, sewing machine and various 'tools' gathered there.
Inevitably, when I have time to cut pieces and stitch, I have the help of at least
one feline--usually Nellie.
The pattern is called 'New York Beauty'.
There are more complicated versions but I feel that this basic one shows the chosen fabrics to good advantage.
This is slow work.
I completed several blocks then decided it was more efficient to create all the paper-pieced 'arcs' before adding the curved top and bottom pieces.
I learned a few refinements as I progressed.
Since one is working in reverse--the fabric pieces on the back and the stitching done through the marked paper on top, it is necessary to align the fabric carefully and pin.
I became over-confident on the 3rd block I made, didn't align as painstakingly, didn't pin.
I had to tear out and rework almost half the block.
I located printable patterns for other paper-pieced blocks online.
I suspect this could be an addictive craft.
I put the sewing away on Sunday to prepare a birthday meal.
Jim and our daughter have birthdays a day apart, Gina's husband's falls a week later.
There were six of us at the round oak table in front of the fire.
I forgot to take photos to mark the occasion.
I have been a bit lazy these past two cold days--making hearty soup for lunch, replenishing the fire, reading. I've read the whole of a Poldark book today--too quickly, forgetting my intention to savor each paragraph.
The weather forecast for the remainder of the week isn't promising--more cold, the possibility of rain or even snow.
I suspect I'll be content to finish my quilt blocks, cook simple meals on the wood range, read with a cat on my lap.